Organised Mercenary Structures: Private Military Companies

23.08.2023

Today, private military companies can be found in many areas of conflict. The services provided by these organisations are not limited to fighting on the battlefield, but also include a wide range of longer-term services such as logistics, military training or protection. The widespread, protracted and low-intensity conflicts in the on o in recent years has led to the direct involvement of non-state actors in conflicts, and these actors have even become the sole armed forces that enable the conduct of war. In addition on on-state actors such as terrorist groups and proxies, private military companies have become the leading actors in conflicts, has brought about a new “medievalisation” debate on the conduct of war.

Mercenary warfare is not a term that belongs only to the present day. Mercenary warfare, called the “second oldest” profession in the world, has been a frequently used element since ancient times. It is known that the Egyptians used mercenary warriors in the Battle of Megiddo (1469 BC), which is defined as the first recorded war in history. Since then, the use of mercenary warriors has been observed in most of the known civilisations. However, although the use of mercenary warriors has been widespread throughout history, it is possible to see an “opposition” against these warriors in many periods of history. This opposition can sometimes be found in the Church Canons, sometimes in the words of soldiers or thinkers. Machiavelli, one of the most famous of these thinkers, takes a serious stance against mercenary warriors in his work “The Prince” and states that a ruler should never use mercenary warriors, saying that mercenary warriors are “hypocritical, full of ambition to make money and treacherous”. But, today organised mercenaries, or “private military companies” as they are called in the literature, are widely used by both states and corporations in many parts of the world.

 

Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. From Mercenaries to Private Military Companies
  • 2. The Private Military Companies in The World
    • 2.1. USA
    • 2.2. Russia
    • 2.3. China
    • 2.4. UK
  • 3. The Position of Private Military Companies in International Law
  • 4. Conclusion 
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